JOHN BARRYMORE | THE MAD GENIUS (1931) Oversized character portrait by John Ellis


[Los Angeles]: Warner Brothers First National, [1931]. Vintage original 11 x 14″ (28 x 35 cm.) black-and-white double weight glossy silver gelatin photo. Creasing at all four edges, more significant at top and bottom left. Photo coded TG-1. Attached paper blurb (which uses the film’s original title THE GENIUS) and “Photo by John Ellis, Warner Bros. and First National” ink stamps on verso. About fine.

A crippled puppeteer finds and trains a young man to become a ballet dancer. When the young man falls in love with a young woman the puppeteer also loves, madness ensues. A companion piece to John Barrymore’s other 1931 film, Svengali, with similar themes. Directed by Michael Curtiz, with art direction by Anton Grot, the film had the feeling of German expressionism.

Here as the mad genius, Barrymore is the master of his ballet puppets.

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